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Subungual squamous cell carcinoma of the great toe presenting as a pyogenic granuloma-like mass in a 64-year-old Filipino male: a case report

Sher Claranza O. Liquido, MD, Bernice C. Navarro, MD, FPSGS, FPCS, Tanya Angela Perez Chua, MD, FPDS, Mae Ramirez Quizon, MD, FPDS



Subungual squamous cell carcinoma is rare, though it is the most common primary malignant neoplasm in the nail unit. Fingernails are more commonly involved than toenails with nonspecific and mild features. Histopathologic presentation may be difficult to distinguish from other tumors. With this, there is often a delay in diagnosis.


Case Report

A 64-year-old male presented with a subungual yellowish granulomatous plaque, eventual dystrophy, and persistent bleeding on the fi rst digit of the right foot of two years’ duration. Initially diagnosed as pyogenic granuloma through skin punch biopsy, debridement with ungiectomy was done. Upon recurrence, he underwent wide excision with matricectomy, wherein deeper sections revealed features of basosquamous carcinoma. A positive Epithelial Membrane Antigen and negative BerEP4 staining later confi rmed a diagnosis of SCC. Since bone involvement was repeatedly suspected in magnetic resonance imaging after postoperative radiotherapy, amputation was eventually done.



We report a case of subungual SCC initially diagnosed as a pyogenic granuloma. Full-thickness biopsy should be done in persistent nail conditions using special stains to confirm the diagnosis. Surgical treatment or radiotherapy with or without systemic therapy is the first line of treatment for subungual SCC. In cases of bone involvement, amputation may be warranted.


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Subungual squamous cell carcinoma of the great toe presenting as a pyogenic granuloma-like mass in a 64-year-old Filipino male: a case report